Coastal Carolina steamrolls UMass in Amherst

  • Massachusetts Minutemen head coach Walt Bell walks on the sidelines during an NCAA college football game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Piscataway, N.J. Rutgers won 48-21. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano) Steve Luciano

Staff Writer
Published: 9/21/2019 4:10:00 PM

AMHERST – The hole keeps getting bigger for UMass.

The Minutemen looked to be keeping pace with Coastal Carolina in the first quarter Saturday, but the game quickly slipped away in the second 15-minute period. The Chanticleers scored 28 points in the second quarter and then easily romped to a 62-28 win over UMass at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

Coastal Carolina had no issues carving up the UMass defense in the first half, gashing the Minutemen almost evenly on the ground and through the air to the tune of 438 yards. C.J. Marable ran for 100 yards and two scores on just 13 first-half carries and Jacqez Hairston added a pair of touchdowns on five rushes. Meanwhile, Fred Payton completed 16-of-18 passes in the first half with a late touchdown toss to Jaivon Halleigh to put the Chanticleers (3-1) up 49-14 at the break.

That touchdown drive at the end of the first half summarized the issues with the UMass defense all day. The Chanticleers began the drive at their own 25 with 1:28 left in the half and promptly began their unimpeded 75-yard march. Three of the first four plays of the drive went for first downs and all but Coastal Carolina was able to get out of bounds on all but one of those four plays. Payton was dropped for a sack on the fifth play, but that was followed by an easy pitch-and-catch to T’Qele Holmes and a routine throw to Halleigh for the score in just seven plays and 68 seconds.

The domination continued into the second half as Coastal Carolina faced minimal resistance en route to a pair of early scores. Bryce Carpenter was almost taken down for a sack on an option play, but escaped the pressure for a 45-yard rush deep into UMass territory. Carpenter shoveled a quick pass to Aaron Bedgood to finish off that drive. On the next possession, Reese White escaped through the UMass defense untouched for a 35-yard score.

While the Chanticleers required very little effort at times to move the ball 70-plus yards on drives, the Minutemen (0-4) were barely able to do any damage with far better field position. Isaiah Rodgers returned three kickoffs into Coastal Carolina territory, but only one of those drives ended in points, an 11-play, 46-yard drive that Bilal Ally finished off with a short rushing score. The Minutemen did take advantage of their other drive that began on the Chanticleers’ half of the field, converting a Tyris Lebeau interception into Ally’s first rushing touchdown of the game.

Randall West came into the game late in the third quarter and led the Minutemen on two quick scoring drives. He connected with Brennon Dingle for a 30-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the third quarter to conclude a six-play, 75-yard drive. West found Dingle again for 23 yards on the fourth down to extend the next drive, which finished with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Zak Simon. He completed 6-of-9 throws for 108 yards and the two touchdowns on those drives.

West replaced Andrew Brito, who started his second straight game for the Minutemen and completed 14-of-25 passes for 100 yards and another interception off a tipped pass. The newly-minted redshirt sophomore did well to extend plays when necessary, but struggled to extend drives with key throws. 

Coastal Carolina was able to bottle up the Minutemen’s rushing attack, holding UMass to just 104 yards on the ground on TK carries. Ally led the group with 42 yards on 11 rushes while Cam Roberson had 38 on 14 touches, hindered by a loss of nine on his first carry of the day.

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